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Strawberries: Planning & Purchase

Planning Your Strawberry Patch

One of the most important aspects of a healthy strawberry patch is where it's at. Plant strawberries in the sunniest spot you can find. Strawberries need a location that has a minimum of six hours of sunlight a day. Although you can get a harvestable crop with as little as six hours of direct sunlight per day, the largest harvests and best quality berries come from those plants that get the advantage of full sun.

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Choose a spot away from large trees, which may send roots into your strawberry bed.

sunberryWhen making a strawberry bed in an established garden, be sure to locate it away from any spot where you have grown peppers, tomatoes, eggplant or potatoes. These plants can harbor verticillium wilt, which is devastating to strawberries.

Your strawberry bed will do best if you begin giving it the care it needs in the fall. The shallow rooted strawberry plant is poor competition for weeds, shrubs, trees, or other plants.. Tilling a spot for strawberries in the fall eliminates a lot of the invasive flora that causes problems for strawberry gardeners during the growing season.

 

In the spring, after the frost is out of the ground and the soil is dry, till the soil again. The fall is also the right time to add rich organic matter, such as manure or compost, to your soil to "set" your strawberry plants.

Although strawberries won't thrive in saturated ground, they do need a moist environment. Amend the soil with a good supply of nutrient rich organic matter to improve aeration, drainage, and increase moisture-holding capacity.

Purchasing Strawberry Plants

The best time to purchase strawberry plants is autumn. Find end of season plants at dirt-cheap prices or order new plants for spring delivery. Nurseries have limited space and often take orders for wholesale plants on a first-come, first-served basis. Frequently, their stock is depleted long before spring.

Even the home gardener can benefit from purchasing wholesale strawberry plants. Your strawberry plant nursery may offer wholesale strawberry plants packed in bundles containing as few as 25 plants per bundle or in boxes containing as many as 1500 strawberry plants per box. Usually you'll find that the more plants you buy, the less expensive they become.

However, thirty plants usually provide enough strawberries for a family of four. Even so, purchasing wholesale strawberry plants also broadens your options. If you are uncertain about where to plant strawberries, consider starting strawberry beds in several garden locations or keep part of your order aside to brighten up your outdoors with a strawberry pot or hanging strawberry plant. Select your plants carefully and purchase only virus-tested transplants.

If your strawberry nursery doesn't offer delayed shipping, there is still no need for worry. Strawberries are a cool weather crop and store easily in a cool, moist place over winter. Depending on where you live, unheated garages, root cellars, and basements are all acceptable for storing bare-root strawberry plants as long as they are safe from freezing. Cover roots with sand, wood shavings or soil.

Ordering or purchasing strawberry plants in the fall ensures that you'll have them for spring planting!

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